There are people who jump out of bed each morning eager to apply their gifts to a needing world: electricians, doctors, waiters, singers, paralegals, decorators…you get the idea. My joy has always been communications. Early on, that meant radio and television broadcasting. Later came program production; a surprise — I didn’t know it was in me, but boy it’s fun.
These days, I find myself wanting to write more than anything else. Give me a subject, and I’ll research it and write a paper that’ll impress the socks off any reader. Period. That’s what makes me happy. You may recall a recent mention of this in my November 11, 2010 post.
A few days ago, I was talking with a writer who has just started a blog focusing on her particular interests: fitness and nutrition. These also happen to be subjects of interest to many. You can see the results of her early work at www.fitquest.com. She’s fresh, and her approach reflects her joy.
Today I picked up the October 2010 edition of Smithsonian Magazine. My eyes were attracted to a cover headline: “Learning To Love Las Vegas“, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner J.R. Moehringer. What, I wondered, was the august Smithsonian doing with an exploration of “sin city”? I’ve been there seven or eight times and, though I love the place, I don’t know that I’d sit and write a feature piece on it. That’s been done by every travel writer known to modern man.
In the same edition of Smithsonian, I found an article called “My Big Hangup“, by Ted Gup, professor and chair of the journalism department at Emerson College in Boston. Surely, I thought, Mr. Gup should know how to write too, and indeed he does. More, his subject interests me; popular technology: cell phones, texting, iPods. Things like that.
I read ‘Vegas’ first; then ‘Hang-Up’, and couldn’t help but notice the contrast in writing styles. What Mr. Moehringer was able to do with color, Mr. Gup did (in my opinion) mostly in black and white. By that I mean (and I’m only guessing at this) that Mr. Gup could not help but to write in a scholarly fashion. Yes, his message was clear and his humor was, well, funny. But it was what a professor would write. The ‘Vegas’ piece, on the other hand, threw away conventionality (even some morality), to keep my interest. Mr. Gup brought a chuckle to my throat; Mr. Moehringer made me laugh out loud.
To be fair, I’m looking at this with blinders on. It could well be that each of these writers have a repertoire of styles that change with the gravity of the subject. It could be that the editor’s pens guided or changed the ways in which these articles were ultimately presented. It must also be said that my appreciation for one writing style over another might be different from yours, or that my reading mood might differ on any particular day.
Why, then, am I bothering you with this inside stuff? Is it because of the fresh approach of my friend’s blog compared with that of the ‘Vegas’ article? No. Is it to criticize one professional writer’s style against the other? Again, no.
ElderBlog is written to chronicle the lives and events of my parents-in-retirement (now only one since the passing of my father). As such, my approach should be serious. Wherever possible, though, I try to find a light-handed way to convey my message; there being moments of humor even amidst a crisis. The writing style here is, I hope, what it ought to be. But more than anything, it should hold your interest to achieve its purpose: to be of help and comfort to caregivers around the world.
So, I dedicate this post to the writers among us, and to those who appreciate good writing. I solicit comments about your treasures. I’ll go first: Pulitzer Prize-winner Dave Barry. Just the synopses of his books bring tears of laughter. Second: I’m still fascinated by the 2001 novel, “Ella Minnow Pea“, by Mark Dunn. A young girl, politics, and lots of letters crash together to tell stories of human nature. This book has near-classic written all over it.
Who and what are your favorites, and why? Anyone, any style. Let’s get a string going.